Some of the thinnest, most delicate tissues in the body can be found in the neck, which means that the natural aging process may affect the neck more quickly than other areas of the face and body. Additionally, excess fatty tissue through the upper neck, under the chin and along the lower jaw can make you look much heavier than you actually are. Neck lift surgery can help you look younger and slimmer by removing excess skin and tissue from the jowls and upper neck.
Recognized as a facial cosmetic surgery specialist and one of the top cosmetic surgeons in the Mobile-Pensacola metro area, Dr. James Koehler is a board certified cosmetic surgeon serving patients from Gulfport to Gulf Shores and beyond. Dr. Koehler offers a wide range of plastic surgery procedures for both men and women, and is known for his caring commitment to a patient-first approach.
Are You a Candidate?
If you’re in good overall mental and physical health but feel frustrated by the prematurely aged appearance of your neck or the appearance of a thick neck or double chin, you could be a good candidate for a neck lift. A neck lift can also be combined with a face lift for men and women who may be considering both procedures.
About Your Neck Lift
The skin and muscles throughout the neck and jaw area may seem to age at a different rate, leading to the appearance of premature aging even when your upper face still looks comparatively young. The looseness and loss of elasticity in the neck can lead to embarrassing wattle or “turkey neck,” along with muscle banding that causes irregular contours. To compound these problems, the jaw and chin area can also store excess fat, leading to prominent jowls and a double chin.
Neck lift surgery can tighten the platysma bands (the neck muscles) along with removing excess skin and fatty tissue to restore a smooth, youthful look. In those men and women who are more concerned with fat deposits than skin laxity, liposuction alone may be enough to improve neck contours without the need for additional surgery. This is an option that Dr. Koehler can discuss with you at your consultation.
What to Expect
A consultation that includes a physical evaluation is essential in order to achieve the best possible results from you neck lift, as your skin elasticity and other anatomical factors will largely determine whether you would see better results from neck liposuction alone or a full neck lift.
Incisions for a neck lift are typically made around the ear, sometimes following the hairline toward the back of the neck. In some cases, Dr. Koehler may need to make a small second incision in front of the ear as well. Next, Dr. Koehler tightens the muscle bands of the neck and excises fatty deposits, possibly with the help of liposuction. Excess skin is trimmed away and the remaining skin is redraped and tightened for a youthful profile.
If only neck liposuction is being performed, the necessary incision points will be very small, and are usually placed below the chin or near the ear. Often, these are small enough that sutures may not even be required after surgery. However, neck liposuction will not improve the appearance of loose skin or neck banding, as lipo can only remove fat cells.
Dr. Koehler may recommend a special supportive bandage (a chin strap or elastic neck sling) after your surgery to encourage your skin and tissue to conform to their new contours. Scars should be concealed discreetly behind the hairline, within the crease below the earlobe or under the chin. Any post-surgical discomfort is usually mild and should be well-managed with oral medications; the use of ice packs during healing should be avoided. Keeping your head elevated can help alleviate swelling for the first few days, and you may also notice mild bruising. Both bruising and swelling should dissipate within 2 weeks, and final results should be visible between 1 to 3 months.
Risks and Complications
The risks associated with neck lift surgery are typically minor, and include common side effects such as fluid accumulation (hematoma), anesthesia risks or poor wound healing. More serious concerns include permanent changes in sensation, irregular contours or unfavorable scarring, although these are rare. Dr. Koehler will discuss all the risks and benefits associated with neck lift surgery and neck liposuction during your consultation so you’re fully informed before your procedure.
Your New Look
Neck lift surgery and neck liposuction are two different procedures that can essentially deliver the same result: slender, more youthful lines through the neck and jaw area that can help your entire appearance look more rejuvenated and refreshed. The results of a neck lift can be even more striking if a face lift is performed at the same time, although you can expect to see significant improvement from neck lift surgery alone as well.
Neck Lift FAQs
How do I find the best neck lift cosmetic surgeon near me?
Start by asking for referrals from friends and family members near you who have had personal experiences with cosmetic surgeons in your area. You can also read reviews online from previous clients, view before and after neck lift photos and double-check the credentials of potential cosmetic surgeons for your procedure. Narrow your search to your top one or two picks and schedule a consultation with each to make your final decision.
Is a neck lift the best way to fix a sagging neck?
A neck lift could be right for you if you’re bothered by the appearance of significant sagging or loose skin, stubborn pockets of fat or visible platysmal bands in your check and neck area. A neck lift can be an effective surgical solution to correct “turkey neck,” jowls or a double chin.
In some cases, liposuction alone can be enough to correct a double chin or other cosmetic concerns related to excess fat deposits in your submental (under chin) and neck areas. Dr. Koehler will work with you to help you decide if a neck lift could be the best fit for your goals.
What’s the best age for a neck lift?
Most men and women who decide to get a neck lift are between the ages of 40 and 60. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to what the best age is to get this procedure. Some people choose to start with nonsurgical options such as injectables or skin tightening devices before deciding to get a neck lift or other surgical procedure.
What’s a mini neck lift?
In some cases, a less invasive neck lift technique, sometimes called a “mini neck lift,” can be used to address less significant sagging or banding in the neck area. In a mini neck lift, smaller incisions can be used, leading to a generally shorter recovery period.
How painful is a neck lift?
Most people report only mild to moderate discomfort and tightness in the days following their neck lift procedure. These symptoms, along with swelling and bruising, are typically easy to manage with the use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, ice packs, supportive bandages and getting plenty of rest.
How long does it take to recover from a neck lift?
Most people plan to take around one week off work and other activities to recover at home from their neck lift. Though you can start to resume social activities and light exercise in the several weeks after your neck lift, it can take 3 to 6 months to see your final results as swelling continues to dissipate.
How long does a neck lift last?
Neck lift results can last an average of 10 to 15 years before a touch-up procedure may be required in order to maintain your same smooth, youthful appearance. To prolong your neck lift results, choose an experienced, reputable cosmetic surgeon, follow all of the post-surgical guidelines and maintain healthy lifestyle habits like avoiding prolonged sun exposure, eating a healthy diet and managing stress.